Welcome to the sixth edition of He Blogs, She Blogs, where Jim and I take the guesswork out of the battle of the sexes (that IS what we are doing here right?) OK, well, maybe we are just making you laugh at us, with us or for us, but whatever we are doing, it seems to be a success. We have gotten a ton of suggestions on topics, but the one we are discussing today (yes, I said ONE) seems to be in such great demand that it can't wait any longer. Plus, it pertains to US--Jim and I, best friends forever. What is this burning question that was asked by Robin from Cinnamon and Honey AND Amy at Bitchin' Wives Club? The bloggy friendship question. And not just any bloggy friendship--the male/female variety. We decided this would take a whole post so we could give you guys the good old dirty lowdown on how Jim and I became BFF's and how we handle it with our respective spouses. So without further ado, here it is folks:
Robin from Cinnamon and Honey wrote: Ooooh. Loving this idea. How about friendships with the opposite sex? What is appropriate? Phone? Email? Blogging together? (Ahem... Kidding, of course) Hanging out? Drinks? Joking? Flirting? Where would you draw the line with yourself and when it's your spouse? What is crossing the line?
Amy at Bitchin' Wives Club wrote: I like Robin's idea about exploring the boundaries of friendships with the opposite sex and perhaps how that extends to the blogging world. I'm afraid my husband already suspects I'm having an affair with Braja, I'm sure he won't be happy if I start getting too involved with a guy who uses the handle "Heinous"!!! ;-)
This is one of those topics that has many gray areas. I am not exactly sure that I could break it down and tell you EXACTLY what is appropriate and what is not, but I will do my best to give my point of view without sounding like a rambling maniac.
In general, I believe that friends come in all shapes, sizes and SEXES. I have always had a lot of male friends and am one of the believers that you can be friends with someone of the opposite sex. Some don't believe that, I know, but I think the key is your mindset and knowing your boundaries. And the type of friend makes the situation different from instance to instance as well. For example, if your spouse has a lifelong friend that they have never had a relationship with that is practically like family, then I say anything goes. They get treated just like a friend of the same sex. But, the lines of communication need to stay open and the partner needs to know what's going on and when you are seeing them so there is no secrecy. On the other hand, when it comes to old high school or college friends or acquaintances (or exes), I think these friendships need to be handled a little more gently. An e-mail here and there, an occasional phone call and hanging out in groups of friends, I think, is appropriate. The rare lunch or meet-up is fine, but having drinks and/or dinner on a regular basis, not so much. Chatting it up every day and sharing every little detail about your life with them? No way. Your spouse needs to know that there are some things that are only shared between you two, and that they have no reason to be threatened by your friend with a penis (or vagina, whichever side you are on).
Now, in this day and age, blogging friends have opened up a whole new can of worms for so many of us. How do you deal with friends that your partner has never even met and most likely never spoken to? How much is too much time chatting and how much do you divulge about yourself and your relationship? I guess the best way to enlighten you on my thoughts on the matter is to tell you how Jim and I became bloggy best friends and how we make it work.
Jim and I first became acquainated by visiting and commenting on each others blogs, of course. That's always how it starts, right? Pretty soon we were regular readers of each others' blogs and would chat occasionally on Twitter as well. After getting to know each other a bit and sharing our philosophies on blogging, parenting and other such stuff, Jim invited me to help him with a blogging project he was working on. We are both writers and we share a lot of the same interests and humor, so he thought I would be a good fit for this project and could add the female perspective. Now, since the details of this project are highly confidential, I can't unveil what it is to you today, but I will only say that it will be something that has never been done and it will involve all of YOU. You're excited now, aren't you? Well, you should be.
So we began working on this project and we would IM each other here and there, shoot e-mails and tweets back and forth about ideas and daily life stuff, and keep each other entertained. We clicked, and found that we worked really well together. I told my husband that I was asked to participate in a project with this guy, Jim, and this is about the point when my husband started noticing that Jim was always the first commenter on my blog and started reading Jim's blog for himself. His reaction wasn't what I was expecting. I guess I thought he might feel jealous or threatened that I was interacting with another man on a regular basis. But instead, he said that he thought Jim was a really great writer, that he liked his blog and that he seemed like a nice guy. I told him that, yes, he was and that we got along well. But I also assured him that we were just friends, and that there was no reason to feel concerned about our friendship. So from that point on, I would chat with my husband about the project and the things Jim and I talked about, and it was no problem.
Then along came He Blogs, She Blogs (or HBSB for short.) Jim came up with the idea, I came up with the title, and there you have it--pure genius. And even though a lot of people thought we were married and our answers tended to come out similar, my husband remained totally cool with it and agreed that it was a great idea. I must say, I am pretty damn lucky to have a husband who supports everything I do on this here blog, especially because sometimes I am sure he is cringing at the things I reveal. But he wants me to be honest with my readers and not hold back on what I want to write about. For that, I love him (and give him blow jobs and shag him silly as much as possible). But I know the secret to all this, and it is contained in two little words:
I have always laid everything out there and never kept anything from my husband regarding my blogging. I have told him who I was chatting with through the day, the kind of e-mails I receive from my bloggy friends and I always run my posts by him before I post so that I know he is cool with them. I think the problems arise from blogging friendships when the spouse feels like they are being left out of some secret club, and they have no idea what happens within its closed doors. When the mind is left to wander and imagine, it can come up with some silly scenarios and paranoia sets in. I never wanted my husband to feel that way. But I also knew that I had found a good friend and colleague in Jim, and that I knew there had to be a way to make it work without sacrificing our marriage.
So when hubby comes home and is available for time with me, I try as much as possible to shut off the computer and give him my time, instead of giving it to the internet. I always tell him he has #1 veto power over anything I post. And I make sure he feels secure, loved and trusting of me and what I do online. It's the magic blogging formula.
And thank GOD I have found it. Because I wouldn't want to blog without Jim. He's the bomb.
And he always knows how to fix my computer :)
So head over to IPR if you haven't already, and see what Jim has to say. And come back next week, same time, same channel, for another installment of He Blogs, She Blogs.
Your funny bone will thank you for it.